In our ongoing attempt to provide MMA fans first hand coverage of all the major MMA events we sent a team down to the Affliction Banned! Fights in Anaheim on July 19, 2008.
Here you have the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from our floor seats at The Honda Center.
1. Um, Fedor. As in this guy is not human. Dismantling Tim Sylvia in 36 seconds? You could almost feel the entire crowd open their eyes wide and search the stands for Randy Couture. The exchange between Fedor and Randy in the center of the ring at the end of the night was cordial. When Big John McCarthy asked Fedor what he thought about being the number one ranked heavyweight in the world, he said he didn’t care about rankings and spoke only in Russian but when asked who he would like to fight it was a clearly rehearsed “Randy Couture”. We don’t care if they hold that fight in Russia, our camera crew will be in attendance. We met up with Fedor in the hotel lobby post fight and while he spoke only Russian his facial expressions and our limited Russian translated to “I am bored, I might go fight a giraffe tonight”
2. Mark Hominick. Aside from the Fedor show, Mark came out after being delayed for over three hours backstage and put on an impressive technical display against Savant Young (who appeared to have just won first place at the local bodybuilding contest). Mark moved in and out with precision and landed with a high degree of accuracy before finishing off Savant with a textbook arm bar – and that was a big arm he was bending. Hominick’s training had paid off. The crowd loved it when he called for Donald Trump to sponsor him for his next fight.
3. Andrei Arlovski. Here is an example of someone who walks into the ring and looks like he could rip you to shreds and then proceeds to do just that to his opponent. He was vicious and got you thinking that despite Arlovski’s challenges with Sylvia, an Arlovski and Fedor matchup would draw a crowd.
4. Josh Barnett. How can you not like a guy that calls out not one but all four of the heavyweights, even those ranked above him (you know guys like Fedor, Arlovski, Sylvia). He put on a show, landed a bone jarring left and then partied lick a rock star that night. There is no in between with Barnett, love em or hate em.
5. The Deal or No Deal Girls. No comment necessary.
1. The event management itself needed work as can be expected with a first time show. Time between fights was longer than necessary. The post fight ring interviews weren’t blasted throughout the Honda Center until after the first few fights were completed so you did some lip reading and if you had your mobile device handy you looked up Megadeth to try and remember any of their songs.
1. Megadeth. I mean really ugly. These guys sucked in the 80′s and it turns out they continue to suck. That being said, the crowd seemed in to it… until they realized it really was Megadeth.
2. The Ray Lazama vs. Justin Levens fight was completely scrapped due to time constraints and ring conditions. How does that happen?
3. The guy who sat behind us yelling “USA” at every opportunity even when it was two guys from the States fighting each other until, of course, the Fedor fight when he cheered non-stop for Fedor. How do these people earn enough money to afford good seats?
All in all we’ll give it an 8/10 because the card was that good. Too many big names for it to be a disappointment no matter what transpired and enough big moments for it to be memorable. The after party was a great time and all the fighters should be applauded for being so open and approachable at the hotel before and after the fights.
These guys represented MMA well in Anaheim and we’re hopeful for another Affliction event.
Check out our Affliction: Banned! photo gallery here.